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How to install track lighting

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Track lighting example
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How to install track lighting without an electrician

Installing track lighting can render an aura of drama to any room. Relatively inexpensive and easy to install, track lights are convenient, versatile and easy to adjust. There are many different types of track lighting and track mounting options; so many that it may take quite a while for you to select the right style for your particular décor. Fixtures can be added or removed from the track with a simple twist.

Installing track lighting, if you know how to do it, can give you much flexibility, as you can easily attach individual lights anywhere along a long line that can run down either a wall or a ceiling. This why track lighting is such a good choice for highlighting a specific section of a room, like a piece of artwork or sculpture or down a long hallway.

There are flexible ribbon tracks, rigid straight lengths, track lights with pendulums and even jointed sectionals. There are also as many different types of bulbs to choose from, including halogen and fluorescent, just to mention a few. The best part about installing track lighting is that you don’t have to be an electrician to do the job properly. There are, however, a few simple rules to follow.

What steps should you follow when installing track lighting?

1-Always turn then power OFF to the circuit you will be working on and make sure that it is off. Be on the safe side, and use a circuit tester or turn off the power to the whole house to be sure that all wires in the box are dead.
Use a ladder to remove the existing light fixture and while you are there, check the condition of the wires. If they are badly oxidized, strip them about ¾ inch of insulation using a wire stripper.

2- Always follow the manufacturer’s suggestions. Do not, I repeat, do not get creative with the different colored wires or you may find yourself looking for a new house with new wires to connect sooner than you ever would have expected! Because track systems vary, become familiar with the assembly before you begin following the instructions to install it.

A single ceiling box usually powers track lighting and the end of the track is attached to a plate that screws into this ceiling box. When installing track lighting, make sure to connect like-colored wires together. The green or bare ground wire attaches to the grounding terminal on the track or cover plate.

3- There is a wire connector that supplies power to the rest of the track. It is easily recognizable as a small length of track with wires coming out of the top and wire connectors on the end of it. The cover plate provides a hole for these wires; slip them through and wire the black house wire to the corresponding black wire on the track connector.

Repeat the process with the white wires and the grounding wires. You will need a supply of electrical tape to wrap around the section of the wires where they meet the wire nut. This serves two important purposes; it helps to hold the wire nut in place and also is an aid in preventing accidental dead shorts.

Installing track lighting via a track light kit is the best way to go because everything you need is right there. It will include a connector cover that gets snapped in place, after which you can then install the light heads. Track light heads are made to fit into the track and connect with a twist of 90 degrees. After they click firmly into place, install the light bulbs made for the type of fixture you have selected and aim the heads in the direction you want the lights to shine.

Track lights can also be installed in a ceiling tray, or as an alternative to cove lighting to create a dramatic effect.

Bull’s eye!

Enjoy your track lighting.

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